Sun. Sep 20th, 2020

Stay Smart About Africa

Tackling Racism in South Africa’s Ivy League Schools

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Cape Town–based diversity trainer Asanda Ngoasheng is no stranger to invitations for one-off workshops and talks from schools. But in the past few weeks, some schools have for the first time signed long-term contracts with her to implement diversity curricula. That shift has emerged from an eruption of protests at South Africa’s most elite schools against the racism experienced by Black students, teachers and parents. While individual racist incidents — pertaining to things like hair policies and hate speech — at such elite schools have drawn a backlash in the past, the current wave of protests is unprecedented in its scale and its focus on systems, not individuals. “A racist structure can violate you without a word being said,” says Ngoasheng. While the international Black Lives Matter movement lit the immediate spark for these protests, they’re the outcome of an education system that has repeatedly had to be challenged.


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